Release Date: May 4, 2018
Record label: Pampa
DJ Koze is a producer and DJ revered by many for his genre-spanning approach to his music and his DJ sets, and his latest album, Knock Knock, is no different. It is a fearless record that trips between hip hop, soul, disco, folk and house without ever losing its composure. The album opens with the stirring strings and glittering woodwind notes of "Club der Ewigkeiten", the classical instruments set-off by Koze's subtle electronic soundbites that are sprinkled within the gaps.
Knock Knock, the new album from DJ Koze, opens with a wail. It's discordant at first, but only for a moment. Angelic vocals swoop in to dominate the mix, giving a rush of the heavenly energy that's been so central to the DJ Koze sound. The genius of Stefan Kozalla is that he can sound euphoric one minute and heartbroken the next.
Far away from mundane reality lies the music of DJ Koze. The German producer builds a fantasy world where aesthetic beauty soaked in memory can hold life at bay for an hour or two at a time. Given his dreamy predilections, his music never strives for relevance and it doesn't care about the shifting fashion of the moment. He's only competing with himself.
"One day I'll simply close my eyes and nothing happened." Modern art 101: No -- sorry -- not even, more like modern art 100: Absurdism. An art style and school of thought caught in the halfway point between man's desire to find purpose and our apparent inability to actually do so. From this disjunct arises the necessity to mine humour from the glistening nothingness, to laugh at Sisyphus from the sidelines.
Stefan Kozalla is the rare DJ who doesn't usually dial back his presence when producing vocal tracks, nor does he overwhelm the singer; instead, he insists that everyone shine simultaneously - a nice metaphor for the dance floor's egalitarian, communal spirit. You can admire this fine touch in much of his remix work, as well as on his magnificent 2013 Amygdala, one of the decade's finest electronic LPs. It's even more evident on his latest, which enlists an A-list stable of singers, sampled and otherwise, for a set that's seamlessly transporting, front to back.
Prior to the release of his guest-heavy full-length Amygdala in 2013, DJ Koze was somewhat of a well-kept secret of the techno world, steadily releasing highly inventive singles, albums, and mixes on labels like Kompakt, Freude am Tanzen, and Buback, in addition to an endless parade of remixes for Battles, Matthew Dear, Caribou, and countless others. Amygdala kept the playfulness and creativity of his past work intact while placing a particular focus on his pop instincts, and was easily his best-received work to date. He received further acclaim for his second remix collection (Reincarnations, Pt.
For my first listen to knock knock I did something very daft. I walked through the park while it poured. It was utterly miserable, cold and dreary and unseasonably dark. It soaked me in foul mood, and I couldn't enjoy anything I was hearing beyond an erratic headbob. Although I listened to it often ….
DJ Koze is a man of many talents. He's following up 2013's Amygdala with a new album that seems to pride itself on showing off as many angles as possible, whether it be the infectious filter-house of Pick Up, the hazy psychedelia of Music On My Teeth, featuring Jose Gonzalez, or the boom-bap samples of Lord Knows. A stylistic chameleon, he flits from style to style in such a way that Knock Knock becomes quite an ambitious body of work, more than the sum of its parts.